In This Review

Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now
Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now
By George McGovern and William R. Polk
160 pp, Simon & Schuster, 2006

This is a well-crafted tract for our times. In a pliable paperback that will fit into a purse or pocket, the authors waste not a word in asserting that Americans were misled into Iraq and in setting out the baleful impact of the U.S. intervention on Iraqis and Americans. They then turn to their "practical plan for withdrawal," which includes a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops to be completed by June 30, 2007, an immediate cessation of work on U.S. military bases in Iraq, an evacuation of the sprawling Green Zone, and a number of specific steps to financially support the Iraqi government and people both during and after the withdrawal. Each of these later steps comes with a price tag that they shrewdly convert into single-day costs of the continuing U.S. presence in Iraq (usually only one day or less for each proposed step). What comes through, however, is not so much an economics argument as a wise and learned conviction (with some passing references to Vietnam) that what the United States ought to do or refrain from doing in its foreign relations accords with what works and does not work in international politics.